St James Park - Newcastle United News

After grinding out a win at Ewood Park on Wednesday in their third away game in a row, Newcastle return to action at St James’ Park when Aston Villa come to visit on Sunday afternoon. Much of the build up to the game will be dominated by the return of Newcastle’s Sengalese strike force, as Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse are set to be included.

Chants of “we’ve got more Demba’s than you” are likely to reverberate around Tyneside, as Alan Pardew prepares to partner the former Freiburg striker with 15-goal Ba for the first time in a black and white shirt. The pair didn’t manage to find the net at all whilst they competed for Senegal in the African Nations Cup; although both are prolific at club level so far this campaign.

The boost of another striker is diluted by the news that Yohan Cabaye is out though, as the France international serves the second of his three-match ban. Newcastle will be hoping that the patched up midfield works better to stop Villa than it did against Blackburn, who enjoyed dominance in the middle third of the pitch on Wednesday.

Steven Taylor, Steve Harper, Sylvain Marveaux and Nile Ranger are all out through injury for Newcastle, with Harper seemingly enjoying a new-found media career in midweek, as he was a guest on 5 Live, talking about the Newcastle game through black and white tinted spectacles.

Aston Villa have a number of former Magpies in their ranks, but the permanently-knacked Jermaine Jenas will miss out through injury. Habib Beye wouldn’t have played even if he had still been a part of the Villa set up, but he has now moved on to pastures new. Charles N’Zogbia scored in the midweek draw against QPR, but hasn’t found the form to support his claims that he was once close to a move to Barcelona.

Shay Given is a former Mag that will receive a somewhat warmer reception from the home crowd, as he prepares to face his old employers for the first time since January 2009.

Stephen Ireland used to play for Newcastle too, but we’d all forgotten.
The win could potentially move us into 4th, although an eleven goal swing with Chelsea’s result isn’t likely. Even a repeat of the 6-0 mauling we handed Villa last year wouldn’t be enough to propel the Geordies into a Champions League position.


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